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Ethiopia on the Brink of Civil War

On November 4, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed deployed troops to Ethiopia’s Tigray region, in response to an army base being attacked by members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The fighting over the last several weeks has killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands of people, creating a humanitarian and refugee crisis. There is a real fear that the situation could further deteriorate and create a civil war within Ethiopia and thus destabilize the entire Horn of Africa.

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for “Ethiopia on the Brink of Civil War"


“Tigray crisis: Why Ethiopia is spiraling out of control”

“Ethiopia says it has seized another Tigray town as conflict embroils Eritrea”

“Fears of regional conflict in Horn of Africa after rocket attacks on Eritrea”

“Foreign powers press Ethiopia for peace talks over Tigray”

“Ethiopia Forces Advance on Dissident Capital in Widening War”

“EDITORIAL: Ethiopia and Tigray must be brought to the negotiation table”

“Analysis: Is Civil War Coming to Ethiopia?”

“Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict sees hundreds dead, thousands flee to Sudan”


  • Writing: Describe why there is conflict within Ethiopia and why the Tigray People’s Liberation Front is upset with the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
  • Debate: The U.S. and the international community should intervene to prevent a potential civil war from occurring in Ethiopia.
  • Poll: Should the Tigray region and its people be given the opportunity to leave Ethiopia and establish their own sovereign country?
  • Short Answer: What will be the ramifications if Ethiopia becomes a failed state?

Current events quiz:

1) All the following are true EXCEPT.

a. Ethiopia has a population over 100 million people.
b. The Tigray ethnic group of Ethiopia represents more than 20% of the population.
c. No one religious belief system represents a majority of the population in Ethiopia.
d. The largest religion within Ethiopia is Ethiopian Orthodox.

2) The Tigray region of Ethiopia over the last several decades has experienced all the following EXCEPT. 

a. A large degree of autonomy
b. A higher standard of poverty compared to other parts of the country
c. A large degree of influence
d. A higher standard of infrastructure compared to other parts of the country

3) Which of the following was the catalyst for the Ethiopian Prime Minister to send the military into the Tigray region?

a. An army base being attacked.
b. An unwillingness of the local population to pay taxes.
c. The attempted assignation of the Prime Minister.
d. The seizure of an oil pipeline.

4) Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is the leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. (T/F)

5) Ethiopia is a homogeneous nation. (T/F)

6) The largest ethnic group in Ethiopia is the Oromo. (T/F)


1) B

2) B

3) A

4) False

5) False

6) True


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